Uganda’s Matibabu wins Africa Prize for Engineering

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Brian Gitta, a 24-year-old Ugandan software engineer, has won the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation for Matibabu, a device which tests for malaria without drawing blood.

The Africa Prize, founded by the UK Royal Academy of Engineering, is dedicated to developing the entrepreneurial skills of engineers, with the finalists – selected from a pool of 16 shortlisted candidates from seven African countries – chosen for their engineering innovations that provide new solutions.

Gitta became the first Ugandan to win the prize, and the youngest winner to date, when he was selected at an event in Nairobi, Kenya, this week, and walks away with GBP25,000 (US$33,000) in prize money.

Matibabu, which means “medical centre” in Swahili, is a low-cost, reusable device that clips onto a patient’s finger, requiring no specialist expertise to operate. The results are available within one minute on a mobile phone that is linked to the device.

“We are very proud of this year’s winner. It’s a perfect example of how engineering can unlock development – in this case by improving healthcare,” said Rebecca Enonchong, Africa Prize judge. “Matibabu is simply a gamechanger.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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